Yeah this is how happy I was…before the ride, during the ride and after the ride too! Happiness inside and outside…everywhere: D Thanks to Varun Doegar for this pic and capturing this expression in his big bandook!
Because it wasn’t any ordinary ride; it was Bulls on Parade – BoP’s 5th Anniversary Ride…we have come a long way since November 2007 when “Gurgaon Cruisers” was born…40 rides…31,210 kilometres together on the road…so many comrades…and unlimited moments of fun, bakar and most importantly the BoP Style camaraderie…
As you all know BoP maintains and follows its traditions religiously…in 2008 we decided to celebrate our Anniversary with a Ride to a destination in Rajasthan and we have stayed true to our promise…
2008: The Anniversary Riders in Pushkar (http://www.cheontheroad.com/2008/11/the-anniversary-riders/)
2009: The Ranthambore Rapiers (http://www.cheontheroad.com/2009/11/the-ranthambore-rapiers/)
2010: The Chittorgarh Cavaliers (http://www.cheontheroad.com/2010/12/the-bop-chittorgarh-cavaliers/)
2011: The Bundi Bandidos (http://www.cheontheroad.com/2012/10/the-bop-bundi-bandidos/)
And in 2012: The Mandawa Mausers…
Each of these 5 locations have the grandeur, history and traditions of Rajasthan engrained in them and we tried our best to explore them and most importantly except Pushkar none of these locations are not the routine tourist Rajasthan Destinations like Jaipur-Udaipur etc …be it visiting the Forts & other monuments, sampling the local cuisine or enjoying the hospitality of the people in the limited time we had on our hands…and we did GOOD!
Mandawa as a location was unearthed by me earlier this year; a quaint town in the Shekhawati Region with a small fort and some not-so-old Hawelis…perfect place for us to conquer as it wasn’t a routine Touristy Destination and that’s what we don’t prefer…
I sent the Ride Invite very early – on 30thof July 2012 to give ample time to BoPians to apply for a solitary 1-day leave and confirm for the ride…after many confirmation and last-minute declines we were finally a group of 9 Comrades who conquered Mandawa…
We had a rollicking pre-ride BBB Session at Vedant ki Dhaani, Gurgaon – another tradition of ours! And one of the last-minute defaulter (read: dhokhebaaz) Ankit Sheoran also attended that session; the Ride Guns were also duly tested in the night…as always the session got stretched; it’s impossible to finish BBB sessions early! We reached our homes – well prepared and fully excited for the 3 ride says ahead…Pics of the Session: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151292963001291.526852.704561290&type=3
This was going to be a special ride in one more sense; I had pre-decided to ride a little slow during this ride and stay together with the group…it was going to be real tough for me as I enjoy riding fast but I was determined to change my style this time….read on to find out all the gory details of the Mausers!
And here it begins…
The Mausers were:
- Diptinder Singh Chhabra aka Vinamra on his Black RE Electra 4S
- Sumit Vijayant Singh aka Anna on his Red/Maroon/? RE Standard
- Varun Doegar aka Photugrapher on his Black RE TB350 4S
- Ajit Singh Bhullar aka Indian Traveller on his RE 500
- Sandeep Singh Chadha aka Legend on his Black RE Standard
- Rohan Kaushik aka Sunny on his Green RE Classic 500
- Ankit Gupta aka NoteDhaari on his Grey RE Classic 350
- Vihans Gupta aka Jaanu as the Pillion
- Che on “The Mighty One”
Day 1 – Friday 9-November 2012 – (Gurgaon – Dharuhera – Rewari – Narnaul – Ranwa – Singhana – Chirawa – Jhunjhunu – Mandawa)
I goofed up with the Alarm and didn’t wake up at 5:30 as planned! Finally woke up when Vinamra called me and asked my whereabouts! Hadn’t felt guiltier than that moment in quite some time as I am amongst the first ones to reach the Ride starting Point and this was one of those rare moments in my Riding History in which I overslept & didn’t reach on time! I quickly got up and also woke up Ajit and Vikas who slept overnight at my place (Ajit was a Mauser but why Vikas slept at my place is a long & gory tale of drama, tragedy and a lot of growling – rest is confidential!) We quickly got ready with our Riding Gear, loaded our stuff on the bike, got some Sandwiches & Juice packed (Thanks to Bandita) and started for the rendezvous Point – Leisure Valley Park– another tradition! Reached LVP at 6:45 AM where some of the Mausers were already waiting; I heaved a sigh of relief when I saw Vihans-Ankit-Sunny missing too! They came the last! At 7:15 AM we finally started the Mausers Ride with the loud chants of “Jai BoP”…Vinamra had come back to India after his UK MBA & it was great to ride along with him after quite some time! My last long ride with him was the Chittorgarh Ride in November-10…Another reason!
At sharp 8 AM the hunger demons hit us and we decided to stop for a Breakfast Pit-Stop at an NH-8 Highway Dhaba…could not follow the tradition of stopping at our routine NH-8 Dhaba – Prem Pavittra Dhaba as that was out of our route map… The first Bandook Shot was fired at this very point & the indications were quite vivid & clear – this was going to be a fiery ride! True to it’s name!!!
Paranthas, Dahi and Chhole were duly ordered. We all got silent once our order was served…but just for few moments…the bonhomie was not to be missed! Chadha Paaji was asked to take over the Financial responsibilities of the ride & he came out with his excel sheet – well prepared Mauser! Though this time the surprise element was missing…
After the pet-pooja we took the road towards Rewari in Rajasthan where the town was waking up gingerly which meant very less traffic & an easy way-through for us…soon Narnaul was passed too…then the Aravallis started and I stopped for the customary shot! Can’t miss that opportunity you see! Then we entered Rajasthan and witnessed the amazing transformation in the quality of roads – it was almost surreal…the roads suddenly became butter-like and the colour of the soil changed too…from a dull brown to a fiery & much-darker rusty colour! We knew that the remaining ride was going to be a smooth affair plus the short distance meant that we would reach Mandawa much earlier and we would break all previous records!
At 11 AM we stopped at Ranwa where the bemused locals watched us all in awe! We also opened open with our Ride Bandook much to the shock & awe of the sparse crowd which had built up! Banana shopping & consuming was done too…healthy Mausers you see! The weather was perfect for riding – a pleasant breeze and not too harsh sunlight…all perfect ingredients for a perfect ride!
Even though I was riding slow I didn’t shirk away my self-assigned responsibility of leading the pack of Riders and I stopped at all the major turns so that nobody gets lost…I am such a responsible Group Rider; it has to be seen to be believed!
We made frequent stops as for a change time was on our side and it gave ample opportunities to the “Photugraphers” of this ride…noteworthy to mention – Chadha Paaji who recently bought a DSLR and Anna who bought a pseudo-DSLR; Doegar was busy in his own Bandookbaazi as always!
We reached Mandawa exactly at 2 PM and treated us to a bout of Kesar-Pista Kulfi! I had 3 of them – it became tough for the vendor to match-up to our pace; the way we were gobbling up Kulfis it looked like his stock would have ended soon! Chadha bought Jalebi & Rasgullas for the Lunch-Dessert session…once again the sleepy town was shocked to see a group of weirdly-dressed motorcyclists in this part of the world…each decked up and fully loaded! We spent the next 20 minutes in finding our place of stay – Hotel Shekhawati as it was located within the narrow by lanes of the town…when we finally reached the owner of the Hotel – Mr. Pramod Pareek came out to receive us & helped us in parking the bikes as well…the rooms were well-appointed, neat, cosy & spacious and the alleys were spacious enough for our mini BBB sessions too!
We took an hour to freshen up and settle down before we started the first BBB session of our Ride…we didn’t stop enroute which was a break-away from our traditions but then we knew that we would reach early and planned to enjoy Beer in the Hotel itself…Mr. Pareek helped us by ordering his staff to get us Child Bear and some snakes to go with it…truly a courteos gesture! We also ordered a light Rajasthani Lunch which was duly served in the Rooftop Restaurant – even though the lunch was not too great but it perfectly satiated the hungry Mauser Souls! The meal ended on a high with the sweets bought by Chadha…Chadha & his penchant for packing “desserts” go a long way! From Ladakh, Chakrata, Lansdowne to Mandawa!
All of us decided to take a short Sleep Break…the late night BBB Session and the early start were the culprits you see! We got up fresh and rejuvenated…ready to roam the streets of Mandawa…there was nothing much to see though so settled for some Jhaalmuri – Bengali Snake Item & a walk across the dim-deserted streets of Mandawa. We also checked out 2-3 “Heritage” Hotels and Lonely Planet “recommended” Restaurants which were obscenely over-priced & had nothing much to show against the high prices! Our Hotel was by far the best VFM Property of the town with superb service as well to boot! Also visited the Fort to get a feeler about the place & checked out the entrance fees as well…while we were exiting from the Fort Chadha Paaji spotted a shop which was featured in one of the songs of “Jab We Met” – and that too for a fleeting second; what memory boss! All of us were once again impressed – infact this has become a habit for BoP…Getting wowed by Chadha Paaji’s histrionics!
Came back to the hotel all charged up for the upcoming BBB Session on the rooftop about which Mr. Pareek had told me earlier “Sir Jee saara intezaam kara denge aapke liye chhat pe – maze se enjoy karma”! Before the Bakchodi began he took us on a guided tour to 2 of his most-special rooms of the property – with the exquisite & amorous wall paintings! His excitement & pride was all too visible while he told the stories behind them! The best ones were hidden by curtains and once they became visible oohs & aahs were heard across the town! Yes that’s how special they were…the numerous cameras started clicking like there was no tomorrow! The set of paintings were in a particular order; starting from wooing to meeting to engagement to wedding to the first night and then finally the baby! Talk about Life Cycle of a Love Affair!
After getting wowed by art during a ride for the first time we all reached the rooftop and started the main agenda of the night! Glasses were lined up plus I had bought a bottle of Ardmore “Highland Single Malt Whiskey” from the Doha Duty Free especially for the ride to celebrate our 5thAnniversary in true BoP Style! I also got 2 cans of Red Bull for me – my trusted beverages partner on rides these days! Pegs were made without wasting any further time, loud cheers were made wishing more glorious years for BoP and loud chants of “Jai BoP” reverberated in the not-too-chilly air of Mandawa! Many gun shots were fired as part of celebrations by us and exploration by the Hotel Staff – they also revelled in the Gun Culture 😉
And then it rained! How could it not! The BoP Anniversary Ride was blessed by the Rain Gods & our BBB Session felt complete too! We scurried for cover & went inside the Rooftop Restaurant before getting wet in the raindrops, finished the remaining drinks session and got ready for the dinner!
We had pre-ordered the Rajasthani speciality “Laal Maas” for the special Dinner plus Pakodas, Egg Bhurji and Namkeen was served as the “Snakes” items…the service was as expected prompt and we thoroughly enjoyed the session…even though the Laal Maas wasn’t anything special we didn’t mind that much – gobbled up whatever was served with love! The session ended and we soon hit the bed with another glorious day planned ahead of us! Well-deserved sleep I say!
Day 2 – Saturday 10-November 2012 (In & around Mandawa)
We all woke up to a clear, sunny & glorious morning. The agenda was set for the day as advised by Mr. Pareek but before all that we had to visit the “Highway on my Plate”-recommended “Jodhpur Sweets Home” to sample the “Pyaaz ki Kachoris”…though when we reached the shop they were not ready but 2 boys were promptly sent to get the first fresh lot of the day – he dared not to disappoint a bunch of hungry motorcyclists who had come all the way from Delhi! The Kachoris were decent & nothing special but they served their immediate purpose – they satiated our hungry tummies!
After the breakfast session we headed towards the “Poddar Haveli” in the Navalgarh Town which was some 20-odd kms away. The moment we reached the Mandawa outskirts the clutch cable of Dips’ Bullet broke; luckily I was riding just behind him but the others were much infront of us…so it gave me a golden opportunity to ZIP! Blessing in disguise as they say…The Mighty One roar like a Tiger again & off I went to get the fellow Mausers! I must say even though I ride my bike so infrequently now it is still in prime shape & form – all thanks to Zaheer Bhai’s maintenance skills! Never leaves me high & dry even after all these years of being my road partner….
Shockingly Dips wasn’t carrying a spare Clutch Cable and Sunny gave his spare one as the replacement! He started the long & arduous replacement process while some of us danced the “Gangnam Style”; it was an impromptu performance & well captured by Ajit! Both the Sunnys also went for a little Sand Off-Roading adventure of their own, ensured that a lot of dust flew all over the place and gave many shots to the ever-so-eager Ajit to click! After this unplanned & not-too-long break we headed towards the Poddar Haveli; after all the parking hooplah we entered the very well-maintained Haveli ably guided by Rahul – our guide who took us around giving extensive details about the various courtyards & the mini-Museum rooms – the best ones were the models of all the major Forts of Rajasthan & it was heartening to see that I have covered a lot of them; definitely gave me a lot of pleasure & motivated me to visit the not-visited ones in the near future! The wall frescoes were also exquisitely painted & one of them caught out attention – Rahul explained it as GOD – Generator, Operator, & Destroyer, never knew this full form! We also got clicked ourselves in the Traditional Rajasthani Pagdi & I also gave the customary BoP Tee pose!
After the long walks through the Haveli & the Kachodi-filled breakfast earlier in the day the time got ripe for a Dump Session & I duly honoured my commitment! How could I miss an opportunity to dump in the Haveli Premises – another first for me! The next agenda was plain & simple – LUNCH! Rahul suggested the “Ganapati Food Court” for the hungry Mausers & we trusted his judgement…after roaring our Bulls through the narrow by lanes of Navalgarh we reached the restaurant & faced a lot of trouble in parking our bikes in on the sandy parking lot! Rahul & his friend also joined us for lunch which could be best defined as Oily, Spicy and majorly tasteless!
Post the lunch session headed towards the Dundlod Fort after a minor mis-navigation when some us missed the cut & went ahead! This is another fort converted to a Hotel and this is a special ones as it organizes exclusive & very expensive Horse Safaris spanning 10-15 days to as far as Pushkar! Entry inside the main fort wasn’t allowed to non-residents so we just spent time at the reception & deliberated about buying Beer or not –decided not to owing to the high price! Some of the Mausers got into the clicking mood & mode again!
The customary Motorcycle Formation pics were clicked just infront of the Main Gate of the fort and they came out really well!
Beer was on the mind of all us after we had done the sightseeing & we did the needful! As Vihans was riding as my pillion he took the responsibility of carrying the Beer Carton to the Mandawa Baoli Point which was spotted & duly chosen as the BBB Point when we were going towards Navalgarh! But then Destiny had some other plans………me & Vihans got lost in our tender moments, kept riding & riding while the others abused us waiting for the beer! I blame the road & weather for this misadventure though! And then it started to drizzle! An unbeatable combo to get lost! We realized our mistake after riding for some 40-odd kms & headed back expecting a lot of abuses waiting for us….finally reached the Baoli & were greeted to oohs & aahs and a lot of happy faces!
The BBB Session as always was laughter & Bakchodi filled which was followed by another photo shoot of the Sunnys! The sunset was just round the corner, we didn’t waste much time & headed towards the last attraction of the trip – The Mandawa Fort…
The pristine sunset view from the fort rooftop was going to be the highlight Our guide once again was quite knowledgeable & courteous and gave us all necessary information about the History of the Fort and the current Royal Family relationships! The fort was equally divided between the 2 brothers while one had converted his portion to a Heritage Hotel the other was lying in shambles! The difference was quite stark…the other interesting thing we got to know was when somebody from the Royal Family was in the Fort the Royal Flag was always hoisted! While some of us were getting these history lessons the Photographers amongst us were fine-tuning their camera setting to get the perfect sunset shots! And they did come up with some stunning ones – especially Doegar! I also used my humble Lumix Camera to capture the mood of the evening! Once the sun finally bid us goodbye we were taken to the most exclusive room of this property – The Honeymoon Suite which was exquisitely designed & crafted! The best part was the open Bathroom Lounge – imagination of the Mausers knew no bounds & all of us dreamt of a stay here just for the Bathroom! We also visited the Pool & Wedding Lawn area – once again very well designed!
The History Lessons got over, the guide bid farewell and we headed towards the lounge area to redeem the entry coupons…after extensive discussions about what to order the Beer, Snakes and my glass of juice were served! As with majority of the Rajasthan Hotels this property was also full of rich & old Western Tourists who had come to enjoy the luxury of this Heritage after paying hefty room tariffs! We were definitely the odd-ones out in the guest list! But that has become a habit for us by now & we don’t mind the side & surprised glances of fellow guests 😉 Finished this Session little early as we had to leave early the next day plus the next BBB Rooftop Session was also waiting for us!
Dips brought out the bottle of “Wild Turkey Bourbon” – both of us had been looking for this across various continents but were unable to find it; Dips finally achieved the Holy Grail in a small liquor store in the UK and duly bought it for this special night! As I don’t take alcohol now all I could do was to get posed with the bottle which was definitely a memorable shot for me as the hunt had finally ended!
I finished my dinner early and headed towards the room as I had to start really early the next day & that too solo! I had some office work and could not afford t reach later than 11:30 AM IST! Chadha Paaji – my room partner also accompanied me for good measure to the bedroom! I finished the packing & slept like a child……..
Day 3 – Sunday 11-November 2012 (Mandawa – Chirawa – Singhana – Narnaul – Rewari – Gurgaon)
This day was going to be another special day for me and in a totally different manner! My longest Solo Ride! The longest Solo ride before this has been the Gurgaon – Panipat stretch which I did during my Amritsar Ride with Gyan in September 2011 which was almost 100 odd kms one way! And this was going to be 230 kms long…I have never done a solo ride in my life nor do I intend to! Any ride without the BoP Camaraderie & Bakchodi sounds completely baseless & incomplete to me!
I woke up at 6 AM and by 6:45 was ready to leave; Chadha Paaji came down to bid me goodbye & wish me luck plus he was deliberating whether to join me or not but finally decided not too and ride with the other Mausers back home! Inside me I was also happy by his decision as it is impossible to ride along with him – he rides at a constant 60 kmph and you know my riding style & speed very well!
The Sun was gingerly coming out of its sleep and gave me perfect sunrise shots which I gleefully clicked! After riding for 100 kms I stopped at a roadside shop for my light break fast – Chai & Parle G, believe me nothing tastes better than this combo! Rode for another 60-odd kms and then stopped for a stretch & piss break…clicked the pristine “Bike on the Highway” shots and decided to ride straight till my home non-stop which I did!
The Odo read 232 kms since I had started from Mandawa and I successfully completed my first Solo stretch and till date the longest! It took me just 4.5 hours to complete this stretch – luckily faced no mis-navigations, breakdowns or Traffic Jams and this definitely helped my cause!
My family was shocked to see me home at 11:30 AM as they are used to seeing me coming back at late in the night during our return rides! I took a well-deserved bath and then had a heavy lunch!
The 5thBoP Anniversary ended for me but for the rest of the Mausers it was still underway! They reached Gurgaon at 6:30 PM after their mis-navigation & Manali Travails…
Another anniversary was well-celebrated and as always in grand style – in the Majestic Rajasthan in a non-descript sleepy town with gunshots sounding all across…Hope I can make it to the 6th one as well and follow the traditions all over again…
The Ride Details:
Total kms on the road – 570 kms
Route Taken– Gurgaon – Dharuhera – Rewari – Narnaul – Ranwa – Singhana – Chirawa – Jhunjhunu – Mandawa
About Mandawa – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandawa
Hotel where we stayed – Hotel Shekhawati – http://www.hotelshekhawati.com/public_html/contact_us.html
Doegar – https://plus.google.com/photos/115046860320435079271/albums/5811466865553484769?authkey=CJbyhIal59nqTw
Ajit – https://plus.google.com/photos/101299191407550350101/albums/5810744808600211025?authkey=COWAxdHR65W7Ogand https://plus.google.com/photos/101299191407550350101/albums/5812961807448022721?authkey=COKu4Mr0ztDaLQ
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…